An English teacher on my grade level was clearly upset by reactions from staff members when they found out her students were taking the majority of the school day to take the state assessments. This year, they are newly fortified with 21st Century style questions that encourage students to use skills which include critical thinking and problem solving. Rumors of its difficulty resulted in many a sleepless night for students, teachers, and administrators alike! This teacher worked very hard throughout the year, going over the content and strategies her students needed to be successful on the assessment. Testing started at 7:30 this morning. Her last student finished at 3:30 p.m. with many of her students hammering out an advanced score.
When I picked up a group of these students and escorted them to a quick lunch break, I saw the weariness in their faces. They were obviously drained, but didn't want to let their teacher down. I told them that I knew how hard they were working and that it was perfectly OK for them to take their time because it meant they were taking it seriously. Their faces beamed. They were doing exactly what their teacher had coached them to do, and knew they were reaping the benefits.
I also knew that there were some pretty sheepish-feeling people when her scores were released. In educating a generation of learners who are used to getting everything "on demand", I truly feel that we sometimes forget to teach the importance of taking ones time and working hard to achieve your goal. While I am a firm believer of working smarter, not harder; I have also come to appreciate a job well done as a result of hard work. I think there are probably a few more teachers and students in my building who think the same.